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Friday, October 28, 2011

Being Holy

I think the word "holy" has acquired some implications that are adding to its confusion. Although holiness involves an avoidance of sin it is not about avoiding sin.

In my studio I have a particular computer reserved only for editing audio and video. I never play games on it, never browse the web on it. The only software installed on it is the operating system and the various programs I have that assist me in capturing and editing audio and video. It is a fully capable computer well able to do anything a modern computer can do. I could easily use that computer for other things but in order to keep it functioning well for its purposes I do not use it for anything that could harm its ability to perform its dedicated purpose.

We too are are likewise set aside to be a manifestation of the redemptive love of God in the contexts of our relationships and responsibilities. We are to be in the world fully engaged with it but with a constant difference: we are the body of Christ that brings His presence into each and every context. It is wise for us to avoid entangling ourselves in attitudes or choices that compromise that manifestation. But that is merely an observable absence, our focus is proactively being the love of God.

Some would like it to be about sin management. I don't really know why but to be honest I cannot help wonder if it is because they are so distracted by temptations that they think this will help them stop doing things they know are inappropriate. And no doubt to a certain extent it works, but only by choking off the love. Love on its mission passes by the temptations often unaware of them because its busy with other things.

Some would like to make it all about what we believe and where we stand on the issues. I do not really know this either but can't help but wonder if such people are unwittingly trying to gain heavenly daddy's approval by adopting a system of thinking they imagine impresses God. Now to be sure, we cannot function in the world by faith without coming to certain points of view. It helps us get organized and be oriented. But love on its mission is more concerned with touching others redemptively than on the details that made it easier to decide what to do and how to best do it.

Holiness is about our abiding in Christ and reflecting His love. Whatever behaviors fall by the way side are largely unnoticed except when mentioned in passing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Regulating Sin, do I use the bible or look to Jesus?

The scriptures speak most eloquently to the new creation, the old you is irrelevant. The presence of Christ, the gifts of ministry to the body, and the breath of God speak to and nurture the regenerated life. It is not focused upon sin management but upon the generous grace of God which through the abiding Christ fully transforms our hearts and minds. He who walks in the spirit can afford to completely forget about sin. The scriptures point to Christ, without Christ the words would be useless. With Christ the words launch us toward the inexpressible hope of complete restoration and glory. To me the scriptures are an amazing artifact of holy men moved by the Holy Spirit, but I will glory most in the presence of Christ and in the love that compelled Him to secure our redemption. The glorious word pales in comparison.

More than programs, more than bible studies, more than theological systems and academic analysis of the bible, we need Christians who live in the presence of Christ and whose living reflects the authenticity of a soul fully engaged in the love of God who then involve themselves in the lives of others genuinely caring for their needs and concerns without a response agenda. Certainly people do require a certain level of clarity and understanding of what is the truth, but more than that, they need the revelation that God loves them, likes them, and counts it great joy to know them intimately. Part of how we do that is by being people who love them, who genuinely like them and who consider it a privilege to be part of their lives.

I enjoy theology but too often its nuances become the focus and distract us from simply knowing Christ and the resurrection power. The scripture is not our destiny it is a living tool that increases our faith in Christ. Even an accurate theology makes a lousy god. A faulty understanding that nonetheless brings us to trust in Christ will not fail because ultimately it is Christ who once fully present will make all the difference in time. Besides no human has the capacity to genuinely understand truth to its depth. We all will be somewhat mistaken in how we understand, but the One who lives within us is mistaken about nothing and He can complete His work in us without regard to our personal limits.